Tag Archives: lawn care

It’s much too hot and way too dry…….. will my lawn be ok?

The first cool-season lawn areas to show signs of heat related stress will likely consist of Kentucky bluegrass and fine fescue grass plant varieties.  Lawn areas that are not routinely watered, experience full-sun exposure or are found growing atop shallow heat-retaining objects (sewers, utilities, compacted materials, etc.) or alongside curbs, sewer covers, sign posts, etc. will go dormant first when temperatures hold in the mid-to-upper 90’s and moisture is non-existent.

In most cases, as cooler temperatures return and routine rainfall becomes the norm, your lawn will awaken from it’s dormancy and return to it’s beautiful self all on it’s own and without any additional help.  However, depending on the total duration and severity of the heat/drought experienced, season-end lawn repairs by seed may be needed to rebuild any/all lost lawn density.

Here are a few seasonal lawn care tips to remember when we experience severe heat and dry conditions

  • Try to keep foot, bicycle or vehicle traffic across all heat effected lawn areas to a bare minimum.
  • Water regularly all season long to ensure dormant-prone grass plant varieties thrive and survive.
  • If a routine watering program is not possible for any reason, do not begin to water your lawn sporadically after your lawn has already gone dormant.  Just let your lawn come out of dormancy on it’s own, over time and as cooler weather and routine rainfall allows.
  •  Mow lawn high (3.5″+/-) all season long for best overall grass plant health and to encourage critical root development.
  • Core aerate lawn every fall to relieve soil compaction and allow for improved air/nutrient/water flow to your lawns root zone.
  • Incorporate the planting of drought-tolerant cool season grass varieties into your seasonal lawn improvement program.

Please be sure to let our team at Pacocha Landscaping Services, Inc. know if we we can be of help or answer any questions you may have.  Thank you for visiting our site and have a great day!

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Mechanical Slit-Seeding = Best Way to Rebuild a Thinning Lawn

Slit-seeding is the mechanical process of planting premium site-specific grass seed through an existing stand of turfgrass, directly into the soil.

Unlike general over-seeding where a spreader is normally used to simply broadcast seed over a lawn (hoping grass seed will eventually reach soil to begin the germination process), mechanical slit-seeding ensures critical seed-to-soil contact by slicing through the lawn and planting the seed directly into the soil.  Mechanical slit-seeding is best performed in late summer/early fall, but can be completed in the spring as long as NO crabgrass prevention herbicides are used (pre/post slit-seeding).  For even better results, core aerate the targeted lawn areas before slit-seeding and apply a granular seed starter fertilizer (high in phosphorus) shortly after.  While slit-seeding may not be the most efficient or cost-effective way to plant an entirely new lawn from bare soil, the process really excels when rebuilding an existing lawn that has declined from such issues as disease, heavy physical use, drought, etc..

Mechanical slit-seeding provides excellent seed germination rates and should be incorporated into any professional long-term lawn improvement program.

Please be sure to contact Pacocha Landscaping Services, Inc. with any lawn care or mechanical slit-seeding questions you may have.  Thank you for visiting our site and have a great day!

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What is this so called nimblewill you speak of?

Nimblewill is a warm season perennial grass that has a tendency to grow in patches and is occasionally found growing in poorly drained soil and lightly shaded lawn areas.  Nimblewill is considered a weed grass and is never planted on purpose.  Nimblewill can spread by seed and/or by it’s lightly rooted spreading stems (stolons).

pacocha-nimblewill-growing-in-lawn

You can easily notice a lawn that has nimblewill growing in it during the early spring and late fall months (in particular).  Once cooler temperatures and first frost occurs, nimblewill will die back to the ground and change from it’s normal bluish/green summer color to a straw-like tan color.

pacocha-patches-of-dormant-nimblewill-grass

Once identified and only when the target plant is actively growing (May thru August), nimblewill can be completely eliminated by spot applying a selective or non-selective herbicide.  Shortly after the treated nimblewill areas have completely died back (14 to 21 days post non-selective herbicide application), any/all necessary steps can be taken to complete the final lawn repairs needed (additional top soil, grass seed, etc.).

Please be sure to contact Pacocha Landscaping Services, Inc. with any questions or service requests you may have.  Thank you for visiting our site and have a great day!

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Watch out for RUST…….. ON YOUR LAWN!!!

Yes, lawn rust!

When we hear the word rust we usually think of deteriorating steel or iron somewhere in our local surroundings.  However, you may be interested to learn more about a common lawn disease that shares the same name.  Whether it be the tell-tale sign of your shoes turning orange when walking across the lawn or the lawn taking on a semi-faded orange color, your lawn is likely dealing with this common late summer fungal related disease called lawn rust.

Pacocha - Lawn Rust on Shoe

Here are a few lawn rust specifics for your review.

  1. Shoes become orange colored when walking across the lawn (orange/brown/rust colored powder sticks to shoes)
  2. Lawn takes on a temporary rusty color (entirely or in patches)
  3. Usually found during late summer/early fall season Pacocha - Rust on Blade of Kentucky Bluegrass
  4. Very common when lawn has gone dormant (partially or fully)
  5. Disease very likely when high humidity AND high temperatures are the norm
  6. In severe cases, rust disease may thin overall lawn (although not very common).  Plant premium site-specific grass seed to rebuild lost density as needed.
  7. Core aerate and/or mechanically power rake all lawn areas to break down/remove problematic excess thatch
  8. Perform infrequent watering and continue lawn fertilization (nitrogen in particular) to speed recovery

Please be sure to contact Pacocha Landscaping Services, Inc. with any questions or service requests you may have.  Thank you for visiting our site and have a great day!

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Our new FAQ page!

Please check out our new frequently asked questions page on our website.

As always, please be sure to contact Pacocha Landscaping Services, Inc. for any lawn, landscape or snow removal services needed at your property.  Thank you for taking the time to visit our site and have a great day!

 

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Strange dark green colored circular shaped ring found on my lawn = FAIRY RING DISEASE

With the abundance of rain we have enjoyed over the past few months, you may have noticed a few odd looking circular shaped dark green colored rings (3′ to 10′ +/- in diameter) located across your lawn.  If so, you are not alone.  In all likelihood, the saturated soil below your lawn has initiated a very common fungal based disease called Fairy Ring.

Pacocha - Fairy Ring 1

The first signs of Fairy Ring disease are usually the appearance of dark green colored circles, arcs and/or mushrooms across the lawn’s surface.  Of course, the mushrooms are a reliable sign that an abundance of buried decaying organic material is in the soil (old tree roots, stumps, etc.).  As the fungi break down the excess organic matter in the soil nitrogen is produced giving the lawn located just above/around a healthy dark green color and a decent growth spurt (beyond surrounding non-affected lawn areas).

Pacocha - Fairy Ring 2

If Fairy Ring effected lawn areas prove to be seasonally persistent at your property and grass fails to grow/survive, then you may want to consider removing a 6″-10″ layer of soil located just below the plagued lawn areas, add clean topsoil and plant premium grass seed to repair the specific areas.  There is no guarantee this soil replacement approach will be 100% effective, but may be worth the investment over the long term if your lawn continues to struggle.

Pacocha - Fairy Ring 4

In most cases, just by power raking (mechanical dethatching) the entire lawn in the spring, mowing frequently and providing routine lawn fertilization will increase the vigor/growth rate of the entire lawn and adequately conceal most Fairy Ring outbreaks that may occur over the course of a growing season.

Pacocha - Fairy Ring 3

Please contact Pacocha Landscaping Services, Inc. with any lawn care or lawn repair services needed at your property.  Thank you for visiting and have a great day!

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Oh no…… my lawn has SNOW MOLD!!

Now that the snow has finally melted and warmer temperatures are upon us, many lawns are showing signs of a common fungal disease called snow mold (gray snow mold in particular). Pacocha - Snow Mold 2Snow mold occurs when spring conditions allow warm unfrozen ground that was recently covered by melting snow to activate an existing pathogen.  The issues start when a pathogen is present, spring temperatures are between 30-40 F and the soil/turfgrass is fairly saturated.  Snow mold may be found in lawn areas where drainage and air-movement is poor and especially where snow has been piled and/or is slow to melt. Damage can be as minimal as just a few small circular shaped yellow/matted down lawn areas or more widespread (conditions dependent).  As the lawn dries and warmer weather moves in the disease becomes dormant until the next opportunity arises (late fall/early spring). Pacocha - Snow Mold 1Damaged lawn areas should be repaired by first raking the problematic areas (very important), add a light layer of topsoil (as/if needed), plant a premium disease resistant grass seed blend and finally cover the repaired lawn areas with a light layer of peat moss to complete.  After the lawn repairs have been completed and soil temperatures warm beyond 50 F your lawn will rebuild its lost density and look as if a problem never existed.

Please be sure to contact Pacocha Landscaping Services, Inc. with any lawn related questions or concerns you may have.  We would be very happy to help!

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Mark, flag or map all shallow buried utilities BEFORE core aerating your lawn to avoid possible damage

Pacocha - AeratorAs winter ends and spring finally starts, many property owners will have their lawn’s core aerated.  Core aeration is the mechanical process of repeatedly penetrating the lawn/soil with a machine that removes a great many soil cores (1/2″ diameter x 2″-4″ deep) to further improve air, water and nutrient flow to the lawn’s root system.  Core aeration is great for relieving soil compaction and improving grass seed germination rates (when overseeding Pacocha - Aeration Soil Cores– pre or post aeration).  Even though core aeration is quite beneficial for your lawn’s health, the mechanical process itself can be very detrimental to any/all shallow (< 6″) unmarked underground utilities that are not avoided.

Here are a few of the most common underground “non-exposed” utilities that must be marked, flagged and/or mapped before core aerating your lawn.Pacocha - Underground Electric Dog Fence

  1. Sprinkler heads that have been overgrown by grass
  2. Shallow buried internet/tv cable lines
  3. Shallow buried “invisible” pet fencing systems
  4. Shallow buried electrical power lines (non-conduit encased in particular) feeding post lights, pond pumps, etc.
  5. Shallow buried landscape drainage or downspout extension linesPet fence wire_in_trench
  6. Grass covered landscape drain outlets, grates, pop-up emitters, etc.
  7. Lawn covered access covers for underground flood control systems
  8. Shallow buried low voltage wiring (landscape lighting, holiday decorations, irrigation system sensors, etc.)

Please remember, if the operator controlling Pacocha - Underground Drain Line with Pop Up Emitterthe core aerator cannot see an obstacle across the lawn or has not been informed of it’s shallow underground existence, there is a very good chance that the steel tines below the core aerator will contact, break or severe the hidden buried object.

Please be sure to contact Pacocha landscaping Services, Inc. to learn more about the process of core aerification and it’s many benefits.  Thank you for your interest!

 

 

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Coarse Textured Grass Variety That Can Handle the Heat and So Much More – Tall Fescue!

If you are looking for a lawn that can tolerate extreme heat, drought and even heavy foot traffic, than turf-type tall fescue is for you! Pacocha - Tall Fescue Turf Tall fescue is a cool-season grass that loves sunny or even partially shaded areas.  Tall fescue is commonly mixed with other turf grass varieties when planting a durable high-traffic lawn.  Tall fescue grows in dense patches, is deeply rooted, dark green in color and is commonly viewed as a weed grass to many discerning residential turf management professionals.  In comparison to desirable blue grass and rye grass, tall fescue has very wide leaf blades and is very coarse in it’s overall appearance (especially older tall fescue varieties).  Older tall fescue varieties can be routinely found in mature residential lawns, along roadsides and parks.

 

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Do I have grubs? My lawn is under attack from skunks, crows and raccoon’s!

If you are one of the unlucky few this summer season that has discovered grub related lawn damage than please read on.  Everyone loves a beautiful healthy lawn that makes a property stand out, but you should know that your lawn can be destroyed in just a few days if white grubs (in particular) are allowed to feed freely on your lawn’s root zone.  Grubs are the larval stage (four stages of development = egg, larva, pupa and adult) of various scarab/flying beetles that call your lawn and landscape home.  The main beetle varieties found in Northern Illinois are the masked chafer and Japanese beetle.  Several other beetle varieties include Asiatic garden beetle, European chafer, green June beetle, May and June beetles and Oriental beetle.  Grubs can be described as dirty white colored, soft bodied, and robust with a brown head and six well-developed legs, with exception of green June beetle grubs, which do not have well developed legs.  When the turf is lifted to expose the grubs, they usually will be lying on their sides in a C-shaped position.  The life cycles of the above mentioned beetles are completed in 12 months with the exception of the common May or June beetle, which has a three-year life cycle.  Adult beetles lay eggs in the ground during the summer.  As soon as grubs hatch, they start feeding on the lawn roots until cold weather drives them two to eight inches deeper into the soil where they overwinter.  As temperatures warm in the spring, the grubs move up from the lower soil regions and resume feeding near the surface until they become mature and pupate from May through early-June.  Later emergence can occur and is dependent on local weather conditions.  Heavy white grub infestations can destroy grass roots, causing the affected area to become spongy, which allows the sod to be rolled back like a piece of carpet.  Even though grub infestations are not always obvious, damage is routinely discovered in spring (April or May) and late summer and fall (September and October).  When you see grub eating skunks, raccoon’s or crows in your yard you need to inspect your lawn to see if grub populations are beyond 5-10 grubs per square foot.  Please keep in mind that grubs do not typically appear in shade lawns.  Since adult beetles usually lay eggs in full-sun green lawn areas with adequate moisture, if your lawn is dry, dormant and/or poorly rooted you will have little risk of grub damage.  It is highly recommended to prevent grub damage by applying a preventative insecticide such as Imidacloprid (Merit) between late June and the beginning of August seasonally.  However, if no preventative insecticide is applied and a grub outbreak is discovered than a curative insecticide like Trichlorfon (Dylox) is highly recommended to prevent large scale turf damage.  If significant grub damage has occurred, the lawn will need some renovation work in early fall or the following spring to rebuild lawn density.  If you suspect your lawn has grubs, please contact Pacocha Landscaping Services, Inc. to schedule an on-site visit to have our team professionally analyze your lawn and offer control and repair recommendations for your review.

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